Shall I continue to pay over the odds for my ink cartridges or take a chance on using compatible inks? This is the question may of us face as the cost of running a busy home or office printer soars.
From the outset, its a good idea to explain the difference between original and compatible ink cartridges. The original cartridge is the cartridge manufactured by the maker of the printer and will be available with the manufacturers branding and packaging. Compatible cartridges are brand new cartridges manufactured by a third-party manufacturer who have no connection with the original brand supplier; these ink cartridges are in fact clones of the originals. There are also remanufactured cartridges; this was an original brand ink cartridge that has been used once before and has been taken back to the factory, cleaned, refilled and repackaged.
The first noticeable difference is the cost between the compatible and original cartridges. Just because the cost of the compatible is considerably less than the original doesn’t mean that there should be a sharp drop in quality. There are some poor versions of compatible ink cartridges on the market and these should be avoided, as they don’t represent a true picture of how good compatibles can actually be. Buying from a supplier with good testimonials on their website or social media page is a good way of checking product reviews. The number of copies you make will influence the cost of your printing with savings of up to 70% with compatible ink then the savings are significant. Also, what you print will affect the amount of ink that you use, are it mostly text or images that you print? Compatible ink cartridges are great for printing images, as photo printing tends to use up a lot of ink. Independent tests carried out using original ink and compatibles show that good quality compatibles are as good as originals and the print will last and not fade as can happen with poor quality cartridges.
The availability of compatibles for new printers is more of an issue. When a major brand introduces a new printer range that doesn’t use their existing print cartridges, the third-party manufacturers will then have to begin the process of making those cartridges but of course this will take a little time. The older the printer the more chance there is that a good quality compatible will be available for it. Printer manufacturers are continually trying to develop ways and means of preventing end users switching to compatibles but the technology used by third-party manufacturers should ensure that the compatible ink cartridge will thankfully be around for some time to come.